Tom's Hydraulic Ram Pump

A 'hydraulic ram pump' is a device which uses the energy of falling water to propel a _portion_ of the water to a higher level. It doesn't need electricity, and it pumps at a modest rate which does not exceed the capacity of a small (inexpensive) pipe. These two criteria were exactly what I was looking for when I found out about the existance of such a solution. As a bonus, it's easy to build the pump from scratch!

The proper conditions must be in place in order to deploy such a pump, and as luck would have it, my situation is close to ideal.

When I moved from California to my place in Oregon, the first of several largish projects I attacked was to overhaul my water system. Prior to this improvement, I had an electric pump which drew river water but the water is not as potable as I would like, and the electric pump was a constant hassle.

I learned quite a bit over the course of the project and with this series of pages, I hope to describe the system and some of the things I learned so that others who may have use for a similar system might benefit. I will not re-invent the wheel by describing the construction of the pump as it is a simple device and the information is adequatly covered by others (See the links page.) I will, however, elaborate on some of the behaviours I have noticed and some of my personal theories.

The most important thing I would like to stress is that one should really consider all of the pieces of the water system, of which the pump is likely to be but one part. In my case, I consider an intake system, a stand-pipe, a filter system, a pipe system (especially since I supply another party with water), a river crossing (150 foot suspension), and a tank.

750K Movie Clip of pump in operation.

Overview Map to get a big-picture view.

Schematic Shows sized and circuits.

Stand_pipe system and intake Think about this!

pump and drive-pipe The 'drive-pipe' is most important!

Water Crossing If you have the mis-fortune of needing one.

Tank and misc other stuff Filter arangement, etc.

Links to other ram pump sites. Be sure to read sizing data!

Feel free to e-mail me with any questions of sugestions. You may want to say 'ram pump' in the subject line as I have to wade through over 100 spams/day (that my spam filter misses!) and sometimes I throw out good mails by accident.

Thanks, and have fun building a system...I did!